Watching the planes take off and land. It’s possible to observe them through a gap between trees. Little glimpses, a flash of light, a roar of the engine. Gone again, come again. I’ve watched so many, it puts me to sleep. It takes a while to realise those sausage tubes contain real people. Pilots and stewardesses in their perfectly tailored suits. When I turn away, the sound of traffic returns, the commotion on the street. Windows don’t close, except in monsoon season. Even then… Snakes slip between unguarded spaces. The monkeys set up a racket. The creatures lurking in the forest make their presence known. There are no trophy hunters; no men emulating Hemingway. The fish have buried themselves in the deepest deep, the wild game have found a habitat across the border more in keeping with their lifestyle. The forest will flourish until the loggers return. And then there will be mayhem.Continue reading “Bobby’s Shadow by Desmond Kelly”
Tin men play their kazoos too loud. Like having an annoying ass bee trying to drill into the deep part of your ear. It’s Sunday and it’s the boardwalk. Sea spray that you’re not supposed to touch or it’ll leave a nasty pollution rash. Gregg doesn’t care, though. His arm is messed up anyhow from all the lousy skateboarding.
Gregg rides and I walk and the waves shove against the wooden thing beneath our feet. Some people call it an embankment, but that sounds too much like a place where loose-tie fathers coax children into cashing checks in exchange for thin lollipops. Gregg grazes his lousy arm against the slippery arm rail, catches some sea spray in his mouth.Continue reading “Arm Milk by Spencer Levy”
Henry Searles, once an unknown character in this business, did not imagine what the insides of Ted Gentry’s house looked like because he had no idea where to begin his search for furniture, trinkets, odds and ends, lackluster fragments of Gentry’s past, lost articles in a blindly-kept closet holding piled up clues. It all appeared pointless and highly impractical, just a guy he met on the corner where the river slips under the bridge, had a drink with him at a bar, like they were old friends suddenly rejoined rather than new acquaintances, but Gentry, sort of mystically, left a note with the barkeep to deliver to Searles if anything ever happened to him, as though Doom itself had made the call.Continue reading “The Lone Inheritance by Tom Sheehan”
“Kausalya Supraja Rama Purva Sandhya Pravarthathe …” – the mobile phone whirred to life, blaring the famous verses of Guru Vishwamitra, scaring the wits out of the guileless night. Murthy shifted in his bed, extending an arm out to silence the phone. It was 4:30 am, a.m. brahma muhurtham, the time deemed ideal for meditation and yoga by the Hindu scriptures. In all of his sixty plus years, he had, without fail, adhered to the strict regimen of starting his day at the brahma muhurtham. However, the last few months were only making him increasingly aware of his growing age. What was once a disciplined routine, now required all his resolve to keep its tag.Continue reading “Daddy by Naga Vydyanathan”
Whistler stood in the weeds, leaning against the brick wall of the old train station and listening to the susurration of wind over the tracks. The others might have known he was there, might have seen him suddenly after looking once and not seeing him as the wind stirred through the cyclone fence, wafting the trumpet vines and grasses down near the old, rusting boxcar where Nathan lived, but he saw no one. Bobo and Saint Louis lived at the other end of the yard in a faded red caboose, but nobody knew where Whistler lived. He appeared and disappeared. No one knew.Continue reading “The Violin by Frank Jamison”
It was really a love story in the end.
The noise outside was consistent. Traffic, construction, and wandering conversations as New Yorkers enjoyed the relative peace of Memorial Day Weekend in the city. But for Steve, the owner of the New Amity Restaurant, it was the end.Continue reading “It was really a love story in the end by Adam Kluger”
I pour and they drink, and I am always mesmerized by their desires, their needs, their dry heaves between drunks so calamitous they’ll never know the impact till they get to the great beyond. I’m a bartender, barman, pourer, scoop setter, sudsman, but I will say at the same time that this menial job, though one with a great overview of the human soul, has saved my own soul for the long ride into the hereafter, though my travels don’t go beyond the 25 feet of the bar.Continue reading “From the Other Side of the Saloon Bar by Tom Sheehan”
The world was so much simpler when Forever 21 was just a shitty clothing store. Nowadays, it’s nothing more than a bar off 42nd street, with a comically-large hourglass by the door filled with sand that never falls. I used to consider it nothing more than a cheap gimmick; another one of the city’s countless tourist traps. The truth is the bar was never what attracted people. All those stupid, far-from-subtle decorations aren’t what people come to stare at; we are.Continue reading “A Little Time by Dylan Martin”
Yumi Suzuki decided she’d throw herself in front of a train on a warm, sunny day. She came to this conclusion sitting in her apartment, watching the weather forecast for the next week. It rained for the last five days, and if the forecast was correct – she’d see the sun tomorrow.Continue reading “Abyss by Emil Birchman”
Your Walk Westward toward Sunset by Tom Sheehan
It is brittle now, the remembering, how we drove you east with your backpack like a totem in the rear seat, so that you could walk westerly across the continent’s spine, across the sum of all the provinces, through places you had been before, and we had been, and the Cree and the Owlcreek bear and wolves envisioned when night screams upwind, stars loosing their valid phantoms.
Now it seems the ready truth that juxtaposition is just a matter of indifference, because we have all been where we are going, into selves, shadows, odd shining, all those places the mind occupies, or the heart, or a lung at exercise. You had already passed places you would come into when we knew your hailing us down, thumb a pennant, face a roadside flag halting our pell-mell island rush.
To go westerly, to walk across the world’s arching top, you said you had to go east, to know Atlantic salt, kelp girding rocks at anchor, clams sucking the earth down, to be at ritual with Europe’s ocean itself, that mindless sea of lonely buoy bells arguing their whereabouts in the miseries of fog, singular as canyon coyote.
We promised you holy water at Tormentine, reaching place of The Maritimes, a fist-thrust ready for Two-Boat Irish Islanders, Cavendish’s soft sand, holy trough of journey, wetting place, publican’s house of the first order, drinks hale and dark and well met and Atlantic ripe as if everything the bog’s known the drink has.
It’s more apparent now, after you moved outbound, or inward on the continent, trailing yourself, dreams, through wild Nations once ringing one another, your journey’s endless. Nine years at it, horizons loose on eternity, trails blind-ending in a destiny of canyons too deep to be heard, and your mail comes scattered like echoes, scarred horseshoes clanging against stakes in twilight campgrounds, not often enough or soon enough or long enough, only soft where your hand touches hide, hair, heart caught out on the trail, wire-snipped, hungry, heavy on the skewers you rack out of young spruce.
Out of jail, divinity school, bayonet battalion, icehouse but only in hard winters, asking Atlantic blessing for your march into darkness and light, we freed you into flight. You have passed yourself as we have, heading out to go back, up to go down, away from home just to get home. Are you this way even now, windward, wayward, free as the mighty falcon on the mystery of a thermal, passing through yourself?
You go where the elk has been, noble Blackfoot of the Canadas, beaver endless in palatial gnawing, all that has gone before your great assault, coincident, harmonic, knowing that matter does not lose out, cannot be destroyed, but lingers for your touching in one form or another, at cave mouth, closet canyon, perhaps now only falling as sound beneath stars you count as friends and confidants. Why is your mail ferocious years apart in arrival? You manage hotels, prepare salads, set great roasts for their timing, publish a book on mushrooms just to fill your pack anew and walk on again, alone, over Canada’s high backbone, to the islands’ ocean, the blue font you might never be blessed in. Nine years at it! Like Troy counting downward to itself: immense, imponderable, but there.
A year now since your last card, Plains-high, August, a new book started, but no topic said, one hand cast in spruce you cut with the other hand, your dog swallowed by a mountain, one night of loving as a missionary under the Pole Star and canvas by a forgotten road coming from nowhere.
We wonder, my friend, if you are still walking, if you breathe, if you touch the Pacific will Atlantic ritual be remembered as we remember it: high-salted air rich as sin, wind-driven like the final broom, gulls at swift havoc, at sea a ship threatening disappearance, above it all a buoy bell begging to be heard, and our eyes on the back of your head.
That other landfall
on Equator’s quick needle
bamboo’s vast jungle
One day, I was on the grounds and saw a tower in the distance. Like a mountain in the desert the tower appeared closer than it actually was. It took many days and raises in the Sherpa’s (an Iberian Ibex named Aristotle) salary to reach the tower. Lo and behold the great tower was composed of Tom Sheehan Stories. Aristotle shook his head and informed me that there was no way to top the tower, and that we should just admire it for its greatness.
The tower continues to grow and one should expect that this growth will continue for some time to come. There is no finer professional than Tom Sheehan, and the best we can do to salute yet another achievement is to visit the tower and examine it piece by piece.
I often wonder, and we have never asked, what it was that prompted Tom Sheehan to send us his work. The muses and internet mages were smiling on us that day, anyway. Right from the very first time we knew that this was a writer of quality. What we have come to appreciate so much since then is his professionalism and wonderful gentlemanly nature. In a world and an environment where much is not as kind as it could be, to interact with someone like Tom is a real privilege. His work and output is amazing, and though some of his submissions haven’t been quite right for us it is all presented beautifully and the reading of it is a bright spot on any day. Thank you Tom for sticking with us all this time and allowing us to read your wonderful words. Long may it continue.
It has been and still is my pleasure to be on the same site as Tom Sheehan. My admiration for the man is indescribable, I am in awe of his talent, his productivity but more so his respect and humanity.
If I am ever able to even write a quarter of the amount of words he has, I’ll be a happy man. I will bow my head though as I will never reach his quality!
One hundred and fifty stories on the one site is an achievement that very few will ever get near. Many congratulations Tom and thank you for gracing our site and my life.
All the very best my fine friend.